If your news organization will be writing about Milepost 31, an information center devoted to the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Program and the Pioneer Square neighborhood, please be aware of some details that have not been included in some of the previous news coverage, including:
· The information center was created to offset potential construction effects in Pioneer Square.
· Advocates of such an information center included the city of Seattle, the state Department of Archeology and Historic Preservation, the Alliance for Pioneer Square, national and local preservation groups, and local tribes.
· As a result of these advocates, creation of this information center was negotiated in a memorandum of agreement and became a federal requirement in the Final Environmental Impact Statement for the Alaskan Way Viaduct Replacement Project.
· The Washington State Department of Transportation did not decide arbitrarily whether or not to spend money on the information center; it was, in fact, determined by a group of neighborhood and historic preservation organizations brought together as part of the Section 106 process for the Alaskan Way Viaduct’s central waterfront replacement. Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act requires agencies to take into account the effects of their projects on historic properties, such as those in the Pioneer Square Historic District.
· The agreement states that the information center should:
o Create a place that draws visitors to the Pioneer Square Historic District and educates them about the past, present and future of the neighborhood;
o Provide a resource to the public, as well as the residents and businesses in the neighborhood;
o Enhance WSDOT’s public outreach and communication efforts for the project, and spotlight the unique historical, archaeological and engineering aspects of the project.
· Here is a quote from Leslie Smith, executive director of the Alliance for Pioneer Square:
“Milepost 31 has already become a vital asset to the neighborhood. It gives people another reason to visit Pioneer Square during the holiday season, which is a crucial time for retailers and other businesses in the neighborhood.”
· At Milepost 31, visitors will find historic artifacts, 3-D models and pieces of tunneling equipment. Interactive exhibits will show how Seattle’s landscape and shoreline have changed during the past 20,000 years, and how crews will build the massive tunnel that will replace the viaduct and reshape the SR 99 corridor.
· For statements from Milepost 31 advocates and a Pioneer Square resident, please contact:
o Dr. Allyson Brooks, Department of Archeology and Historic Preservation, 360-586-3066.
o Leslie Smith, Executive Director, Alliance for Pioneer Square, 206-667-0687.
o Charley Royer, former Mayor of Seattle, resident of Pioneer Square, 206-812-1195.